Martin Meyer has been awarded a prestigious Investigator Award in Science by Wellcome. With this new award, the Centre for Developmental Neurobiology at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) has a total of five Wellcome Investigators. These awards offer flexible funding support to researchers at all career stages, enabling them to tackle the most important questions in their field. The funding, worth £1.6 million, will support research that aims to understand how information about the visual world is encoded by populations of neurons in the brain and how these populations are assembled into neural networks that control visually-guided behaviours. A central goal of sensory neuroscience is to understand how the brain builds internal representations of the external world and how these representations guide decision making and behaviour. For example, what patterns of activity in the brain allow an animal to distinguish prey from predator and how does this activity trigger the appropriate behavioural response? To address this fundamental problem Dr Meyer will use the optic tectum of larval zebrafish which converts visual information from the retina into hunting and escape behaviours. Dr Meyer said: ‘The duration and level of support that a Wellcome Investigator Award provides will give my lab the time and freedom to develop the tools and techniques necessary to answer ambitious questions. Over the next five years we will use these techniques to reveal how the brain builds internal representations of the external world and how these representations guide decision making and behaviour.’ To find out more about Wellcome Investigator Awards, visit their website.
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